This is me, not writing a book.
In 2014, I learned about the Church calendar and the way that following it can shape us. I first started reading about it just before Advent, and the stories I read have stayed with me.
Reading about Mary, and her response to the Angel Gabriel’s declaration that she would carry the Christ, resonated with me in a way that other Gospel stories have not in the past years. Then reading about Zechariah, and how his need for certainty caused him to be silenced by the angel. I’m guessing the less certainty a priest can spread, the better.
I can relate to both of them. I haven’t been blogging much since starting seminary. In part because I don’t have much time, but mostly because I’ve realized that like Zechariah, I desire to replace my faith with certainty. It’s not so easy to write when you’ve realized that you don’t have all the answers. Writing in faith, if that is a thing, takes a certain amount of courage that I just can’t muster.
And when writing in (with?) faith, we must follow Mary’s example, and find a hiding place for a time. Because what we are carrying is fragile, and we have been entrusted to carry something that will change someone’s life in due time. So we need an Elizabeth, who will say “me too” and take us in.
Advent — the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.
All that to say: this is me, not writing a book.
I’m not saying that an Angel appeared to me and told me to write a book that would change the world. *cough* What I am saying, is that Mary and Zechariah’s stories show us God’s faithfulness. The promise will come to pass, but whether we participate or not, is entirely up to us. Participating takes sharing our stories, our dreams, and our time.
So all 2015, I’ve been hearing, feeling, and dreaming the same message: write the book. Sometimes it’s a soft whisper, and other times it’s a loud shout: WRITE. THE. BOOK.
So then, inspired by the the bible stories I read last Advent, I decided to write a book. Why? I don’t know exactly how to say it, but I will try. I mean, that’s the whole point of being a writer, que no? I have a story to tell and if I don’t tell it, I will die. Is that dramatic enough? Maybe some of you will understand.
I’m not sure what sparks our creativity or how inspiration strikes. But I have learned that ignoring it is dangerous for the soul. We grow old and as time goes by, we end up too busy to do the thing. We begin to say yes to all the wrong things and no to all the right things. The thangs, Carol. All. The. Things.
Can you see how terrified I am to write this book? I can no longer ignore the fact that I must write this book before I die. This is not about being a published author, or becoming rich and famous. This is about carrying something within and bringing it to fruition. Not by ignoring those closest to you, because where will we get ideas? Or by alienating yourself from community, although boundaries are good. This is about saying no to the things that waste our time.
Still, this is me, not writing a book.
Just before Advent, I made the choice to delete the most used social media apps on my phone. I was going to say no to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I was going to say yes to writing. Instead, they were replaced by Yahoo News, YouTube, and Netflix.
Should I just throw my phone in a river?
Not yet. I think that this is why I am writing this post. Accountability. Or maybe a running start at writing. That works too.
The gospel of Luke shows us that, like Mary, we are all bearers of Christ. Not many will understand, and we will at times find ourselves having to hide what’s within us from those in our community. (Remember those boundaries?)
This is how the early Christians read this story. They were rejected by their family for not following Judaism like everyone else did. They were persecuted for being faithful to Christ. So Luke understood that they had to be reminded that they can persevere, and he decided to write the story of Jesus in order to remind them.
As far as Zechariah goes, he remained silent for a few months until his son was born. Then, at the right time, when everyone was trying to give his son a name, he wrote on a tablet…his name is John. He is, who God says he is.
This is what writing, and all other creative endeavors do. They help others finally hear their God given name. Writing can help the writer find his or her voice. This is what I’m searching for. I know I’ll be back on social media eventually. I’m only saying no for a season. But for now, this is me, going away to write a book.